Yellow Peril

We’ve all been following with awe the latest effort of the anti-choicers to make their cause about something other than their desire to ban every single abortion along with drugs and devices most Americans consider contraceptives. Yesterday they were supposedly worried about the impact of abortion on African-Americans; now it’s a manufactured crisis over a non-existent eruption of abortion for purposes of gender selection, invading the country from Asia.

As I noted yesterday, a bill sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks that was originally designed to deal with the first “problem” was hastily repackaged to deal with the second. As Dana Milbank reported, proponents of the bill were not subtle:

The debate on the House floor was brief but nasty. Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) warned of a contagion spreading from Asia. “Today the three most dangerous words in China and India are ‘It’s a girl,’ ” he said. “We can’t let that happen here.”

So as with the case of the crocodile tears these people were shedding for African-Americans so recently (the “victims” of their own decisions to have abortions), the anti-choicers are speaking out of both sides of their mouths about Asian-American females, who are both the victims and perpetrators of this terrible outrage that is spilling over into the United States.

This racialization of the abortion issue is not going over terribly well, as Franks is learning:

Democrats found Franks’s ­paternalism toward minority groups to be suspect. Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.), identifying herself as a member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said the bill would “lead to further stigmatization of women, especially Asian Pacific American women.” Various Asian American legal and women’s groups opposed the bill.

But most anti-choicers don’t really care. Whatever the collateral damage, it’s apparently very important to them to create new smoke screens for what makes them tick, and it is not any sort of roving concern for stamping out racial discrimination in America.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.